Why do the English titles of Japanese films and manga often have so little connection to the Japanese title?

My favourite example of this (as well as my favourite manga) is Urayasu Tekkin Kazoku (literal translation Urayasu- a lower middle class area of Chiba near Disneyland- Steel Muscle Family), which for some reason gets the English title Super Radical Gag Family. And the reason is…

English titles for things that are not designed at all for export are not meant to be a translation at all, or even read by English speakers. They are supposed to be an addition to the Japanese title to add to its impact on the Japanese reader, whilst possibly suggesting that it is good enough the be exported.

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3 Comments

  1. Spencer said,

    April 15, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I was curious if you know of any translations of “super radical gag family” in english. I have a lot of those manga, but only look at the insane pictures.

  2. alexcase said,

    April 17, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Sorry, but I’ve been looking for ages and it doesn’t seem to exist. It’s a shame as it seems to translate fairly easily, except for some of the stuff specific to Japanese schools. There was an anime that might have English subtitles if you’re really lucky

  3. panphyuphyu said,

    July 21, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    I am thinking of translating the Chinese version.

    My Chinese sucks but really nobody else bothered to translate so I’m thinking of doing it my way and sharing with my friends only to save myself from the embarrassment. ^^

    But thanks because I already got some info from you for now. So Urayasu is the city they live in… I had hell of a time trying to figure out what that city is from the Chinese I was reading..


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